RENOWNED ACTOR BEN GAZZARA PASSES AWAY
- Ben Gazzara, an intense actor whose long career included playing Brick in the original "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" on Broadway, roles in influential films by John Cassavetes and work with several generations of top Hollywood directors, died on Friday, Feb 3 in Manhattan. He was 81.
The cause was pancreatic cancer, his lawyer, Jay Julien, said. Mr. Gazzara lived in Manhattan.
Mr. Gazzara studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in Manhattan, where the careers of stars like Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger were shaped, and like them he had a visceral presence. It earned him regular work across half a century, not only onstage; his last Broadway appearance was in the revival of "Awake and Sing!" in 2006, but in dozens of movies and all sorts of television shows, including the starring role in the 1960s series "Run for Your Life."
If Mr. Gazzara never achieved Brando's stature, that was partly because of a certain laissez-faire approach to his career: an early suspicion of film, a reluctance to go after desirable roles.
"When I became hot, so to speak, in the theater, I got a lot of offers," he said in a 1998 interview on "Charlie Rose." "I won't tell you the pictures I turned down because you would say, 'You are a fool.' And I was a fool."
And yet Mr. Gazzara's enduring reputation may well rest on his film work, specifically the movies he made with Mr. Cassavetes, the actor and director revered by cinephiles for his risk-taking independent projects and a directorial style that encouraged spontaneity, The New York Times reported.
- 1865 Birth of Vasili Ghorghanyan (musicologist). He died in 1934.
- 1919 The Armenian National Council of Gharabagh request officers of the Allied Army to effect the withdrawal of Turkish (Azeri and Ottoman) forces from Gharabagh, and create a local autonomous unit under British supervision. The request is denied.
- 1945 Conference of the leaders of the Allies: Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin during the Second World War, in Yalta (Crimea). The three Allies and France would occupy Germany, and the Soviet Union would start a war against Japan.